By Nick Niedzwiadek, Feb 5, 2019
The sponsors of a bill to create a single-payer health care system in New York are not hiding their disdain for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed commission to study ways to achieve universal health care access.
The governor's health budget bill included few details on the proposed commission, other than that it would hold at least one public meeting and would report its findings to the departments of Health and Financial Services no later than Dec. 1, 2019. It did not outline the number of commission members, nor did it specify if the Legislature would be able to appoint people to serve on it.
"It seems like it's just something you're putting forward to say you're thinking about it, but not really," state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), the Senate Health chairman, said during a budget hearing on Tuesday.
His counterpart, Assemblyman Dick Gottfried (D-Manhattan) — who's carried the New York Health Act for decades — joked that he had a nickname for the proposed commission that's not suitable for "polite company."
"Don't spend too much time explaining it to people, because I don't think it's going to exist in the budget when it's passed," Gottfried told a representative of the Department of Financial Services who testified Tuesday.
A RAND Corp. study published last year found that a single-payer health system was financially feasible in New York, though it included a number of modeling assumptions — such as an unprecedented waiver to redirect billions in health care funds to the new system — that are unlikely under the Trump administration.
For his part, Cuomo has called a universal health care system a "good idea," but one that would be more realistically implemented on the federal, not state, level.